Weekly Thought – January 10, 2023
Fred highly valued concentration and focus. Many early morning breakfasts were scheduled by friends who wanted their “sons with potential” to meet with him. He listened, evaluated, and often decided the missing ingredient was intensity… no laser focus.
Life in Focus
The verse of Scripture which always comes to my mind about the focused life is: “This one thing I do, forgetting what is behind, I press forward.” One of the brightest men I ever met never amounted to much despite testing at genius level in 13 of 14 key measures. What was missing? He could never pick an area and develop it. He kept looking back at experiences, enjoyed the memories, and wandered into the future. He had too many options and failed to press forward.
Concentration is the power of life. The fireman knows to make sure the nozzle is screwed down. Otherwise he just has a flow of water. There is little force.
A lot of people do not focus because they are afraid of missing something, and they’re also afraid of being judged for having failed by making the wrong choice. One of the most talented baritones I ever knew was offered an opportunity to solo at the Metropolitan. He refused to focus, risking everything else to become truly great. Instead, he remained a fine talent but never achieved superiority.
The fear of being judged is always part of making a decision. A large number of people would rather be thought to be a person of potential, rather than attempt something, possibly failing, and losing the title of “highest potential in the pack.” Ironically, too many carry the idea of potential success more lightly than actually sacrificing to make it happen.
Growing up in the mill district in North Nashville I saw many with limited talents, and very limited opportunities who accomplished simply because they focused and concentrated. They found their uniqueness and held on to it like a junkyard dog with a bone. They had the “this one thing I do” spirit. I always think the welding torch is a fine illustration. You have to turn the flame down to a blue point before it will weld. Those who work with blue flame intensity accomplish.
I see people who believe working long hours is the secret. They think those hours means they are doing their job well. Intensity comes with you understand what are the important parts of your job. Some people spend as much time on inconsequential details as they do on the vital parts of their job. They certainly become hard workers, but not necessarily accomplishers because they miss the key elements.
Effective focus is achieved through proper prioritization, and intense attention.
This week think about: 1) How focused am I on the most important aspects of my work? 2) What does pressing forward look like for me right now? 3) When does fear get in the way of accomplishment?
Words of Wisdom: “A lot of people do not focus because they are afraid of missing something.”
(Note: Fred recognized FOMO way ahead of his time…)
Wisdom from the Words: “Pay careful attention to the condition of your flocks, set your mind on your herds.” (Proverbs 27:23 NET Bible)